Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Sea Lives Up To Expectations...

Often when gales are forecast, Seaton seawatchers tend to get all worked up for nothing, getting up at the crack of dawn, rushing down to the seafront in eager anticipation of the sea bird spectacular to come. On most occasions, like this Monday for example, they are sorely disappointed. So when I arrived at Bun's house this morning and it was still  'to all intents and purposes' dark, I did wonder what on earth I was doing. When we arrived at the shelter in  Beer (the only seawatching shelter now that some **** has burned down the Seaton one) Phil was already there. He must have good night vision! He hadn't seen anything (probably because it was dark) and after about another half hour neither had we. Then Ian M arrived and almost immediately spotted a Skua. From then on it really 'kicked off'. What a morning!  In four and a half hours we had 33, yes, Thirty-three! Great Skuas. They were mostly heading west but a few were going east, so there's a chance some were doubling back (still a patch record number I believe) 5 Arctic Skuas,  one Skua Sp. and best of all 3 stonking Pomarine Skuas, the first I've seen on or off patch in two and a half years! So very, very welcome.

Plenty of other birds including lots of Whimbrel, Sandwich Terns, Kittiwakes, Brent Geese (pale-bellied), Manx Shearwaters, Common Scoter, two Velvet Scoter, sitting on the sea (which I didn't get onto) two Great Northern Divers, a Red-throated Diver and a Black-throated Diver.

All in all a superb morning. Brilliant birds, good company and great fun! :-)

As I type this I am aware that the Beer shelter is once more full of birders and that they are still seeing heaps of good stuff including more Arctic Skuas and a Little Tern (which is quite a patch rarity). I'm obviously rather gripped but couldn't realistically put in any more time today as I have to go to work this evening ( Steve does too but he has twenty years age advantage) and I'd be so tired there'd be a good chance of me cutting off part of my finger in the meat slicer. I exaggerate not. It has happened before!

 The Sea

The Seawatchers.

Almost a full compliment of Seaton's finest, minus Gavin who was braving the elements at the Axe Yacht Club and probably seeing a very different section of birds to us, which is usually the case from the much lower vantage point there.


Karen Woolley said...

Scratch that part about Steve having to go to work...he wasn't at work it was his night off... You can stop admiring his stamina forthwith! ;-)

Anonymous said...

How on Earth do you seawatch standing up?

Karen Woolley said...

Coz we're so hard! ;-)

Actually, even though there is a nice 'comfy' bench in the shelter. Sitting isn't an option because there are railings in the way. This is why I prefer the Seaton shelter when it's not being burned down :-(